Zu­bil­laga, Unionville sprint past Pa­tri­ots for Clark’s 100th

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Nate Heckenberger nate­heck­en­berger@gmail.com @nheck­en­berger on Twit­ter

EAST MARL­BOR­OUGH >> All night, and re­ally all sea­son, Unionville strug­gled to fin­ish drives and find the end zone.

Leave it to the safety-turned quar­ter back with a gimpy an­kle, JoeZu bill a ga, to fig­ure things out. With 42 sec­onds left in the game, Zu­bil­laga sprinted off the right side for a 17-yard score to give the In­di­ans their first and only lead against vis­it­ing Great Val­ley.

Forty-sec­onds later, JT Hower in­ter­cepted a pass in the end zone from Great Val­ley’s Rob Geiss to pre­serve Unionville’s 16-13 league vic­tory in a wild win Fri­day night.

The win not only put the In­di­ans in the driver’s seat to win their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Ches-Mont Amer­i­can Di­vi­sion ti­tle, but gave head coach Pat Clark 100 ca­reer vic­to­ries at the helm of Unionville.

“I knew we had to get the win,” Zu­bil­laga said. “We worked all off­sea­son and all dur­ing the year and in my three years of high school I have never felt some­thing like this. It’s great.”

Great Val­ley (2-2 di­vi­sion, 4-3 over­all) scored the lone touch­down of the first half on a one-yard QB-sneak by Geiss, and the Pats went up 13-3 late in the third on Pat Sauer’s sec­ond field goal.

Unionville (3-0, 4-3) missed a field goal on the first play of the fourth quar­ter to try to make it a one-score game. Af­ter a quick se­ries by the Pa­tri­ots ended with a punt, Jack Adams capped a four-play, 54yard drive with a 12-yard touch­down run to make the score, 13-10, with 9:10 re­main­ing.

Great Val­ley man­aged three first downs on the en­su­ing drive, but Zach Nance knocked Geiss out of bounds a yard shy of the first at the Unionville 25, set­ting the In­di­ans up with a long field with four min­utes to play.

“This is one of the top wins we’ve had here,” Clark said. “Down two scores against that team, we had to shut them out for al­most a quar­ter and a half and that’s not easy to do.”

Zu­bil­laga con­verted a fourth-and-three at the Unionville 32 with a five­yard run and then con­nected with Adams, who made an im­pres­sive one­handed catch, for a 19-yard gain later in the drive.

Two plays later Zu­bil­laga fin­ished the come­back with his TD jaunt. Adams had a game-high 144 rush­ing yards, while Zu­bil­laga, who didn’t fin­ish the first half af­ter in­jur­ing his an­kle, amassed 128 on the ground.

“I had an inkling go­ing into half­time it wasn’t se­ri­ous,” Clark said of the in­jury. “Joe is the kind of kid where he’s gotta be dead be­fore he comes out. It was a great quar­ter­back ef­fort.”

For the sec­ond straight week, Great Val­ley came up just short at the end of the game, hav­ing lost to West Ch­ester Rustin 31-27 the week prior.

“It hurts,” Great Val­ley coach Dan El­lis said.

The Pats scored on their first two pos­ses­sions of the game, and then af­ter a three-and-out their first drive of the third, Damien Carter re­cov­ered a muffed punt to set up the sec­ond field goal.

Unionville held the Pats to a sea­son-low in points (13) and to­tal yards (261).

“It was back and forth the whole game,” El­lis said. “We had to do a lit­tle more of­fen­sively, mov­ing the ball in the be­gin­ning of the fourth and do more on de­fense, get­ting a stop here and there. That’s what it came down to ul­ti­mately.”

Unionville’s 16 points is ac­tu­ally its sec­ond-high­est of­fen­sive out­put this sea­son, and de­spite punt­ing it three times in­side Great Val­ley ter­ri­tory and at­tempt­ing two field goals in the red zone, the In­di­ans found enough of­fense when they needed to.

With Ken­nett, Octorara and Sun Val­ley left on the sched­ule, Unionville will be fa­vored in each. It also owns the tiebreaker over Rustin, should both teams end with one di­vi­sional loss.

Clark em­pha­sized one week at a time, but earned a well-de­served Ga­torade bath while cel­e­brat­ing his 100th win with the team.

“It was a great way to get 100, but 100 wins just means I’ve been here too long,” Clark said. “We’ve had a ton of great kids and as­sis­tant coaches and they’re a big rea­son we have the type of pro­gram we’ve built here.”

While Clark down­played the mile­stone, the day he does de­cide to step away will be too soon for Unionville.

NATE HECKENBERGER — FOR DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Unionville’s Jack Adams pulls away from Great Val­ley’s Anthony Lib­er­ato for a 12-yard touch­down in the fourth quar­ter Fri­day night.

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